Mini Challenge Race Report

As you may remember, Star Platforms are proud sponsors of Max Leaver in the MINI Challenge

As the memorable season comes to an end, we asked Max to round up the final race at Snetterton in Norfolk on the weekend of October 31st and November 1st.

Here's the report in Max's own words

Testing, Friday 30.10.15

Weather: Wet. Track: Wet Friday was wet and cold all day. Max sat out the morning session allowing the mechanics to ensure the mini was set up and running well. Conditions remained the same for the afternoon session and so Max was out on wet tyres, he managed to put in some good lap times and was easily one of the top three. Max likes driving in the wet but unfortunately for him, the forecast for the weekend is dry.

Qualifying, Saturday 11:00 31.10.1

Weather: Sun/Cloud. Track: Drying A very good qualifying session took place Saturday morning in fair conditions, the track was beginning to dry out after the rain and the weather was incredibly warm and dry. Max had a good session in first position until the last lap when his team mate and Mini cooper champion Nathan Harrison took pole position from him. His best time was 2.21.889min which put him second on the grid. Max and the Coastal team (with special attention from ace mini mechanic Rio) were very pleased with the cars performance. max_mini_grid

Race 1, Saturday 14;00

Weather: Sun/Cloud. Track: Dry Max started in second position on the grid and although he got a good start Ricky Page was faster on the first corner –Riches- and put Max into third spot. Page made an error on lap 3 allowing Max back up to second and Max did his fastest lap of 2.21.652 on lap 5. Things seemed to be progressing smoothly with Max looking to overtake Harrison in first place when the ABS light came on, this meant Max was locking up every time he braked and he was unable to continue at the same pace. Wakefield was the first to pass him at Agostini and then Simon Walton passed him at the same place on lap 7. Max fought to keep Page behind him, there was some very close side by side racing around Agostini bend with hard contact coming from Pages car on Max’s left side allowing Page to pass. The ABS light problem continued throughout the race, Bladon and Poole passed on the start finish straight and Max finished in 7th place. When the Coastal Team examined the car after the race they found several problems following the clash with Page. The knock had caused the exhaust to move sideways which damaged the lambda sensor which ultimately blew a fuse causing a significant loss of power. Coastal boss Carl examined the exhaust closely and decided a new manifold was needed which luckily the parts department (Mark) had as a spare in the support vehicle (van). Max did the 6th fastest lap so will start in 6th position in Race 2 on Sunday. max_leaver_mini_1-1024x680

Race 2, Sunday 13:40 01.11.15

Weather: Fog. Track: can’t be seen! Thick fog enveloped the whole of the race track Sunday morning and all racing was delayed for safety reasons, the fog was swirling and very frustrating as this was the last race day of the season. Eventually after several hours delay the Cooper race was scheduled for 13.40, the fog had cleared and the sun came out much to the relief of all the race teams. The race was reduced to 15 minutes. Max started in 6th position but he could not get the car up to speed on the first few laps and he dropped to 7th place. Eventually the car picked up and Max began to catch the drivers in front of him, he passed Davey, Poole and Page by lap 5 and set about the front 3 drivers. He was on the tail of Wakefield, Bladon and Neal but ran out of laps, one more lap and he could possibly have passed them to get a podium position, he finished 4th. The ABS light had come on again at the end of the race and a new ABS sensor and wheel bearing were fitted before the last race. Fastest lap was Max’s last one – 2.21.229. The reverse grid for the last race drew number 4 which meant Max would start at the front of the grid.

Race 3, Sunday 1540

Weather: Cloud/Low sun. Track: Dry Due to the fog this race was also reduced to 15 mins. Max started well in pole position and held the place for 5 of the 7 laps despite some very close racing from Wakefield and Bladon. Max pulled Wakefield and Bladon clear from the rest of the class by a large margin before Max ran deep into the Montreal hairpin on lap 5 allowing Wakefield to pull alongside him. Max positioned the car for the inside line but unfortunately Wakefield pushed Max round which allowed both Wakefield and Bladon through on the inside of Agostini bend. Max had led for most of the race and was disappointed to finish in third place; however this was a good result for the team who enjoyed a podium position for the last time this year. Well done Team!!! Fastest lap 2.21.723. on the 3rd lap. max_leaver_mini_2-1024x680 Max would like to thank all the sponsors and friends for their support this year. Thanks to Chris and Suzie Edwards for joining the team on Sunday. max_leaver_mini
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